Preah Pithu

DCF 1.0

PREAH PITHU is a group of 5 Temples at Angkor, Cambodia.  The are located in Angkor Thom, north-east of the Bayon, in front of Tep Pranam. The Temples are near each other but they were not built in the same period, except for two of them, so there is no apparent order.  They are identified by letters : T, U, V, W & X.

Preah Pithu

“X” is a Buddhist Temple, it remained unfinished and is probably the latest.  The 5 Temples are in a bad condition, the upper levels are ruined, but their carvings are interesting and the Site is rather peaceful, wooded and scarcely crowded.  A moat, often dry, surrounds some of the Temples.  They were cleaned, first by Jean Commaille in 1908, then by Henri Marchal from 1918-1920.


Temples “T” & “U” :  They were built together for sure as they are on the same W-E axis and are surrounded by a single moat.  They are oriented to the West, having a “CRUCIFORM TERRACE” on 2 levels with “NAGAS” balustrades as entrance.  The Temple “T” has a sandstone enclosure, which measures 45 by 40m, and has 2 “GOPURAS” on the main W-E axis.  The sanctuary, on a 3-level ornate platform 6m high, has a chamber which sheltered a large LINGA on its pedestal.  The fragments of the lintel of the western door, on the ground, show a stylized depiction of the “CHURNING OF THE SEA OF MILK”, while the walls are decorated  with “DEVATAS” and floral motifs, Bayon Style.  The Temple “U” is similar to “T” , but smaller and simpler.  Its enclosure is 35 by 28m.  It has no “GOPURA”.  The lintel of the west door shows the “TRIMURTI”, with SHIVA dancing on a KALA-HEAD between VISHNU & BRAHMA.  The internal walls are sculpted with “DVARAPALAS” and blind arches at the base of the pillars are typical of ANGKOR WAT period.  On the northern lintel there is another depiction of the CHURNING OF THE SEA OF MILK.


Temple “X” stands on a large terrace, 4m high, about 100m east of Temple “U”.  It is reachable from there if the moat is dry.  It is similar to the former temples, but is larger and incomplete in its decorations.  “X” is a Buddhist Temple : on the walls of the sanctuary chamber, there is a double row of SCULPTED BUDDHAS.  Even the lintels show Buddhist motifs.  However, the most interesting remains, depicting Siddharta’s cutting off his hair, are not in place.  Towards the east, the LATTERITE TERRACE is surrounded by SEMAS (boundary stones carved with figurative Buddhas) delimiting the sacred area. —Temple “V” :  Outside the residual moat, north of Temple “U” there is Temple “V”.  It is oriented to the east, where it opens with a double vestibule and has no enclosure.  On the west it has a causeway which ends with a 40m long CRUCIFORM TERRACE, leading into the NE corner of the ROYAL SQUARE.  Its sanctuary chamber, standing on a 2-tier sculpted basement is the largest of the group, having a square side of 3.80m and hosting a large 1.5 LINGA.  Its external decorations, in ANGKOR WAT style, are incomplete.


Temple “Y” : has no basement or stairway and stands on an earthen platform, north of Temple “V”.  It was date between ANGKOR WAT & BAYON.  Oriented to the east, it has a long MANDAPA, as entrance, linked by a vestibule to a 3.5m by 3.0m sanctuary chamber, which hosted a LINGA 0.95m tall.  The larger chamber has mostly collapsed, but on its western side, there are 2 remarkable HALF-FRONTONS, which depict the defeat of the ASURA BANA by KRISHNA to the north and the 3 GIANT FOOTSTEPS of VAMANA to the south.



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